As a young kid I can I recall my late father having a couple of National Panasonic radios, there was always something a little ‘different’ about them to the then more ‘modern ‘radios I was used to seeing. They were just old radios to me.
The extra few dials and switches didn’t really mean much to me, I knew that they were there but never quite got what they were for. I also remember thinking how cool the world map on the back of the radios with the Worlds time zones were.
The extra dials, switches and ultimately the world of HF radio started to mean a little more to me one evening when Dad was changing the batteries over in one of the radios and I was sitting on the couch watching TV. Dad turned on the radio and I initially didn’t take much notice as I heard a local AM station. Boring!
The next thing I knew I started to hear sounds and voices that seemed a little different from the normal AM radio. Announcers seemed a little more formal and well spoken, signals would fade in and out and they were talking about events, news & issues from thousands of kilometres away.
From that moment those radios started to mean a whole lot more to me. Dad sat there and tried explaining to me about shortwave radio listening and some of the finer points. I’m not really sure how much of it I took in on that initial introduction but I do recall him saying late at night was the best time usually for hearing stations from the other side of the world as there wasn’t as much interference and noise. Needless to say I went to bed that night with Dad’s radio next to my bed as I listened to the world speak.
Over the next few nights, as I essentially drove Dad up the wall and used every spare battery in the house, I soon discovered what sounded like Donald Duck broadcasting his own show, no matter how much I fine tuned I just couldn’t seem to get the speech clear. Time for another lesson from Dad and I was welcomed to the world of Single Side Band. I remember asking Dad who used SSB and what was it I was hearing now? Aircraft!
That’s it, this radio now has a new onwer! Whilst I didn’t actually make such a bold proclamation out loud as I didn’t need a clip around the ear, it’s pretty much what I was thinking.
Dad had been in to SWL since he was a teen and made his very first Crystal Radio set and it amazed me how as I got in to the hobby he would be say to me, ‘Try tuning 4-5Mhz, there should be a signal around there”. Bingo! There it was, the ever reliable Radio VNG which was Australia’s first official time and signal service. (See video embedded below)
Well those initial radios are long gone, as is Dad sadly, but the memories are still there.
Honestly, some of the best memories ever!